I’ve been to a few zoos (including San Diego) but have to say, Singapore Zoo is my favorite. The animals have a ton of space to move around, there’s a great selection of animals to visit, and it’s a beautiful area so just walking around is enjoyable. It’s a fun way to spend a day and I definitely recommend hitting it up if you head to Singapore!
How to Get There
We were staying at Ascott Raffles Place which is in downtown Singapore so we took the North South MTR line towards Jurong East and got off at Khatib station (approximately a half an hour ride). From there it is a quick walk to Khatib MRT Exit A Pick up Point (follow the signs in Khatib station, it is a bus stop outside the station to the east). From there we took the Mandai Khatib Shuttle which took us right outside the zoo (around a 15 minute ride). The shuttle comes about every 20 minutes. To get back to our hotel at night we followed the same steps but backwards. Make sure you note what time the last bus leaves from the zoo or else you may get stuck needing a taxi. If, like us, you are travelling from downtown Singapore, give yourself a little over an hour for travel just in case you get stuck waiting for the shuttle bus. The shuttle bus costs $1 and can only be paid with your EZlink card (make sure you pick one of those up when you first get to Singapore to save yourself a lot of hassle!).
We bought tickets ahead of time on the Singapore Zoo website. I don’t know that it was totally necessary for the day time zoo as there wasn’t much of a line that we got to bypass but it was definitely worth it for the Night Safari as we got brought in a lot quicker. We got a combo ticket which included both the Zoo and Night Safari and seemed to be the best deal for seeing both.
What to See/Do
So what is there to do at the Singapore Zoo? Well, look at lots of animals, obviously! The cool thing about the Singapore zoo is how open it is. Animals have a ton of space to roam free including the odd orangutan walking down the path. There are different shows and feeding times throughout the day so make sure to check a schedule when you arrive so you can plan your time accordingly. We watched part of the elephant show but found the heat to be too much to just sit still in the sun for long. We also saw a few feedings take place which gives you a chance to see animals in action and often a little closer.
In the evening there were two options for us if we wanted to stick around. There is the night safari – you get a 20 minute drive around the park in an open air bus to see the wildlife and then get to explore the parts of the park they keep open after dark. This gives you an opportunity to see nocturnal animals in action and get super freaked out in the bat cage (well, I did). There is an animal show at this but it was definitely geared towards kids and I wished I’d skipped it and had more time to walk around and see the animals. It depends on what you like, I suppose. There were a lot of flashing lights and kids getting brought up to hold animals. The Night Safari is unlike any other experience I have had at a zoo and is highly recommended. The second option if we chose not to do the night safari, was a light show in another area of the zoo called “Rainforest Lumina”. Singapore does some pretty cool art with lights, and I would have liked to have checked this out if we had time!
A Few of My Highlights
The pygmy hippos were adorable! I didn’t realize they actually can’t swim! They just sort of prance across the ground and bobble along. Very ballerina-like! I love monkeys of all kinds and there are plenty at the Singapore zoo. If you have time it’s fun to stick around for a while and see how they interact with each other. I could sit and watch them for a few hours without getting tired of it. The white tigers were very majestic and spent a lot of time swimming and moving around which gave us ample opportunity to get a good look at them.
How Much Time Do I Need?
It depends on what type of person you are! We needed a full day. And when I say full day, I mean like a jam packed full day that went well into the evening. It depends if you want to stay past closing for the night zoo, if you want to take advantage of things like the river safari, etc. Check out the Singapore Zoo website before you go and decide what you want to do and then give yourself lots of time to do so. I found it was nice to have extra time to see my favourite animals more than once. Also, if an animal was sleeping or in an area where I couldn’t see them, it was nice to have time to revisit the zone again and see if they had come out somewhere where I could observe them.
Have you been to the Singapore Zoo? Let us know about your experience in the comments below!